In his latest thriller, Boyd again is at his best. A truly unique plot, exquisite language and a disturbing setting at the edge of Londons underworld, symbolized by the River Thames and its flotsam being washed ashore.
His hero, Adam(!) Kindred, has come to London from the States to apply for a university post, because he has ruined his academic and personal life back there by a stupid one-day-stand with a student.
After the job interview he sits in a cafe and comes to talk with a man who turns out to be a scientist. When he forgets a folder, Kindred phones him and brings it to his flat, as he has nothing else to do. There he finds the man dying, and when he hears somebody next door, he flees in panic, taking the folder with him. The murderer follows him to his hotel and he only narrowly escapes.
And that is the beginning of his ordeals: The police hunt him as their only murder suspect, and the murderer is on his tracks also. So he drops out of society and lives in a derelict assortment of bushes and debris on the Thames River bank near Chelsea Bridge. When he runs out of money he finds help and company at an Evangelist church for the poor, takes to begging and lives with a prostitute and her little son in a run-down estate.
Again he has to flee from his pursuers, finds a new identity and becomes friendly with a police woman involved in the murder investigation. She lives on a house boat on the river. Gradually he finds out, that the scientist was murdered, because he was involved in a huge pharma scam with a new asthma drug.
All´s not quite well in the end. Adam finds back into a kind of respectable life, but he has to live with his false identity and some dark secrets of his own.